Hen with mass on head

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hello chicken experts

We have a year old Brahmin hen with a "growth" on her head. It extends from over her eye to over her ear. It is about as thick as my thumb and as big as my thumb joint where my nail is.

We saw this last night and isolated her. Her eye didn't appear to be messy, but I put opthalmic terramycin in it anyway (didn't know what else to do). This morning, she continues to eat and act normally. My husband wants to try to lance or aspirate this mass today. However, a friend of his said that growths on chicken heads is common and no big deal. I couldn't find anything in my Raising Poultry the Modern Way book...BTW it's not discolored, like blackhead would be, I guess.

A week or two ago we lost a hen to illness. She was listless, wouldn't eat and went downhill fast. She was walking hunched over, and I though she might have been egg bound, but no egg in the cloaca. Anyway, I am of course concerned about the whole flock, and have been observing, but nothing strange until this. Since I don't do facial inspections (!) and the chickens free range over about 5 acres all day, I just look for general thriftiness, etc. They seem otherwise healthy.

Any ideas? Should we put antibiotics in their drinking water in case? What about this hen?

Thanks in advance for your help.

p.s. Just had a ladybug on my keyboard! I had to wait for her to move on before keying this!

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), February 28, 2000


A ladybug-how lucky. I know spring is coming because all the flys and spiders are appearing in the house. sigh.

Does the growth on the hen's head look like something pus-filled? If not, I probably wouldn't lance it. Probably wouldn't lance it anyway. What color is it? Is it smooth or rough? Could be warts, a tumor, a recent injury, proud flesh, insect bite, genetically defective comb. I don't know that the dead hen and this hen are a related problem. I personally don't care to use antibiotics if I don't have to-prefer to save them up for when they are really needed. but I'll do some more searching to see if I have anything that sounds like it answers your problem. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (ima_gerbil@hotmail.com), February 28, 2000.

Thanks, Gerbil

I look forward to your research.

In reply to your questions: It is just like her regular skin. It is covered with chicken skin and feathers. It's just like a protruding mass. Not realll squishy, more like hard but I can push it around a bit.

BTW, I just went out to put water in her enclosure (I had her in one of those square wire cages with the pull out tray underneath, usually used for rabbits, I think), and she flew out at me and out of the cage. She is now with the rest of the gang, and won't be approachable until after dark again. I agree with you that I don't think the chicken death last week was related...however, hope whatever this is, it's not something contagious. Otherwise, I just screwed up big time....

thanks again

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), February 28, 2000.

I'm going to go with a mechanical injury. You didn't mention any really obvious problems like labored breathing, head shaking, refusing to eat,etc. So it could be swelling around some sort of puncture wound, or less possibly a big bruise. If it is a tumor, it will most likely be benign. A feather cyst (think ingrown hair) would be very hard and yellow. Generally wouldn't be as large as you have described.

I've been through a number of books on poultry and birds in general, nothing I came across would have a swelling such as this, at least without a lot of other, more obvious symptoms. Since Papillon seems to be in otherwise fine fettle, I'd just keep an eye on her. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (ima_gerbil@hotmail.com), February 28, 2000.

Thanks, Gerbil,

You are the best!

I went out and looked at her a while ago and she was pretty busy eating and doing general chicken things. We won't go poking around the knob with any sharp lancets or anything and I agree about the antibiotics. I was just sort of freakin' about the whole flock at that point.

Anything new shows up, I'll post.

Thanks again.

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), February 28, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ